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Hanukkah, Thanksgiving Overlap in Rare Occurrence

By Ben Rainwater
By brainwater@wbbjtv.com

HUMBOLDT, Tenn. - As the sun sets Wednesday, Menorahs are lit, celebrating the first day of a Jewish holiday.

"Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting candles on the Hanukkah Menorah, and in the United States we typically give gifts to each other," Congregation B'nai Israel member David Cohen said.

This year, Hanukkah will overlap with Thanksgiving. That is because in the Jewish calender, this is a leap year. Unlike the traditional American calender, they do not just add an extra day. They add an entire month, moving up all holidays.

"The last time this occurred was 1888, and people that look into this say it will not occur again for 79,000 years," Cohen said.

Even though it is extremely uncommon for both of the holidays to fall on the same day, many Jews said celebrating them at the same time is not very difficult.

"There's really no challenge," Cohen said. "It's two family-focused holidays from different cultural backgrounds that are coming together to make it double the fun."